Even when siblings are playing with each other and one pulls or yanks the other by the arm. Or sometimes, just an unsuspecting fall.
Well in some children, this is enough to cause a dislocation of the elbow. Countless cases come through the emergency doors each week, with parents unaware of what has
happened. Just like with many childhood fractures, they can go unnoticed for a while. So don't feel bad if this has happened to you, you are not alone!
If our child is:
- Favouring one arm. They will not be able to use the arm. It is often seen just dangling by the side of a toddler, with their hand facing forward
- Showing pain and distress immediately when the injury occurs, or when the elbow or forearm is moved.
Interestingly you won't see:
- Swelling, bruising, or deformity of the arm
- Pain when you touch it
Luckily the treatment is quick and simple, with a manoeuvre conducted by qualified medical staff to pop the elbow back in. And the sooner it is picked up, the easier it pops back in. Sometimes an x-ray is required if they are unsure whether it is a pulled elbow or not.
Although the procedure is a little painful, within 30 minutes the child is usually moving their arm again, especially with the temptation of an exciting toy!
So if you suspect your child has a pulled elbow:
- Give them some pain relief
- Apply an icepack wrapped in a cloth
- And attend your nearest Paediatric emergency department or local GP.
- And remember...it’s best not to pick your children up by their wrists or forearms, and if it has happened once it may happen again!